Grant Forrest seeks help from law guru ahead of US Open tilt

Scot opens up on why he’s been listening to advice from someone outside of golf

Grant Forrest is hoping the man running one of the biggest law firms in Scotland can help get him in the right mindset for his first experience of what is widely regarded as the toughest test in golf.

The 30-year-old secured his debut in the 124th US Open at Pinehurst after sharing the medallist honours with English duo Richard Mansell and Brandon Robinson Thompson in a 36-hole shoot-out at Walton Heath.

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It’s Forrest’s first major appearance outside The Open, having played in the Claret Jug event as an amateur at Muirfield in 2013 before qualifying again as a professional five years later at Carnoustie.

Grant Forrest, who is making his debut in the event, smiles during a practice round prior to the US Open at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.Grant Forrest, who is making his debut in the event, smiles during a practice round prior to the US Open at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Grant Forrest, who is making his debut in the event, smiles during a practice round prior to the US Open at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

The USGA traditionally sets a tough test for the US Open, meaning that players face a mental examination as much as a technical one in the third men’s major of the season.

Speaking at The Renaissance Club during a Genesis Scottish Open media day, Forrest was asked if he currently works with anyone on that side of his game and his answer was an interesting one.

“On and off, though I haven’t for a while,” said the 2021 Hero Open winner. “I like just speaking to successful people outside of golf because the mentality is generally the same. For example, Glen Gilson from Gilson Gray is a member at The Renaissance Club after being a Craigielaw member as well.

“He’s helped me a bit and become a bit of a mentor. He’s obviously running one of the biggest law firms in Scotland now and he’s got a very good mindset, helping me out with what it takes to be a high performer.”

Glen Gilson, managing partner at law firm Gilson Gray, is a member at The Renaissance Club after being a Craigielaw member as well. Picture: Ian Georgeson PhotographyGlen Gilson, managing partner at law firm Gilson Gray, is a member at The Renaissance Club after being a Craigielaw member as well. Picture: Ian Georgeson Photography
Glen Gilson, managing partner at law firm Gilson Gray, is a member at The Renaissance Club after being a Craigielaw member as well. Picture: Ian Georgeson Photography

Gilson is both chairman and managing partner of the firm and Forrest added of their relationship: “It’s all about mindset. You come across some people who are extremely successful in their field and they tend to be able to pick up anything and do it well because of their mindset, not because they are naturally gifted at something. It’s the way they think, the way they motivate themselves. The way they do things on a day-to-day basis is the reason they’ve become successful.

“In golf, it’s trying to be realistic and take the positives when they are there and pick yourself back up when you have to. At the end of the day, the results do matter, but it’s trying to detach yourself from them as much as possible.”

For the first time since 1984, there wasn’t a Scot in the field for this year’s Masters while Bob MacIntyre was the sole Saltire standard-bearer in the PGA Championship. The former led to some people questioning whether the talent in the home of golf isn’t there at the moment but, according to Forrest, it’s more down to the fact that DP World Tour players are fighting a losing battle in the Official World Golf Ranking these days.

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“There’s no doubt the talent is there,” he insisted, referring without actually naming them to the likes of Ewen Ferguson, Connor Syme, Calum Hill, Richie Ramsay, David Law and Scott Jamieson in addition, of course to both himself and MacIntyre.

Grant Forrest is presented with his medal by Greg Sanfilippo, the USGA's Senior Director of Championships, after sharing top spot in the US Open qualifier at Walton Heath last month. Picture: USGAGrant Forrest is presented with his medal by Greg Sanfilippo, the USGA's Senior Director of Championships, after sharing top spot in the US Open qualifier at Walton Heath last month. Picture: USGA
Grant Forrest is presented with his medal by Greg Sanfilippo, the USGA's Senior Director of Championships, after sharing top spot in the US Open qualifier at Walton Heath last month. Picture: USGA

“Without sounding as though I am making excuses, I think we are now up against it massively with the Official World Golf Ranking system in terms of getting into the majors. It’s very difficult, almost impossible, to get into the top 50 through our tour now without gaining a PGA Tour card. Even to get top 100 or 110 and get yourself in the PGA Championship, you are having to play to a level well above that.

“I think Matthieu Pavon is probably the best example. I think he was outside the top 200 going into the Dunhill last year then ended up having a great finish to the season and going out to the US and winning his second or third event. So I think it shows that if you are good enough to do really well on our tour, you are good enough to do well on the PGA Tour. Yeah, the OWGR don’t really reflect the different level of standards.”

So it’s not down to a lack of commitment or effort on behalf of the players? “No, absolutely not,” added Forrest. “We are all doing our best. It doesn’t take much to make that leap and I’ll go back to Matthieu Pavon. He’s been a solid player for quite a while but it’s only in the last seven or eight months that he’s taken it to the next level.

“I think guys like him give you motivation to show you are not far away from that yourself. You might be only three wins away from changing your career and your life.”

Forrest, who got married towards the end of last year and recently announced along with his wife Christy that they are going to become parents later this year, didn’t kick on how he’d have liked after landing that breakthrough DP World Tour triumph at Fairmont St Andrews. Last season was more like it, though, and he’s now hoping to make the most of this exciting opportunity.

“It’s been a bit slow in getting going, but I had quite a bit of time off after the Desert Swing,” he said in assessing his year so far. “I’ve actually been playing quite well, just not scoring well. But that’s just how golf goes sometimes. The last couple of weeks is probably the best I’ve driven it for a long time, so I’ve taken the positives from that and, if I can sharpen up the scoring again, then we’ll be fine.”

Is patience a big challenge for him? “Yeah, we’re generally not patient people. We’re competitive people and patience and being competitive don’t really go too well together,” he said, laughing. “You know, golf is frustrating when the results aren’t there. It can be one little part of your game that isn’t there on a given week when everything else might be there.”

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Which is where Gilson comes in again. “You’ve just got to trust the right things and feel you are improving each day,” he said of his advice when it comes to being in that position. “If that’s the case, the results will hopefully come.”

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